Sunday, June 26, 2022

‘Toxic’ lawyer suspended for saying judge talked ‘rubbish’

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A lawyer has been suspended and fined after telling a judge she was speaking “absolute nonsense”.

Jacqueline Vallejo, 50, was “rude and unprofessional” to the judge during a Crown Court trial, a disciplinary hearing said, and also told her “don’t try to make me sound like an idiot.”

A Attorneys’ Court hearing this week ruled that Ms Vallejo made several “disrespectful” comments before jurors and was “unduly” argumentative in talking about her and interrupting them.

When Ms Vallejo was cautioned for her behavior, she told the hearing: “If Your Honor wants to do something about me and my behavior, that’s fine. However, I would prefer that you do it sooner rather than later.”

The court made its decision after listening to audio for several days of a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court in London in February and March 2016.

The ruling highlighted one case in which Ms. Vallejo called the judge’s summary of the evidence presented to the jury “absolute rubbish”.

Ms. Vallego, admitted to the bar in 1997, was one of the specialists working on the “Salsa Spy” case in which an army translator and salsa dance teacher who worked for the chief of NATO forces in Afghanistan was found guilty of espionage was found for Iran in 2008.

The problem first began when the Garden Court Chambers criminal barrister, who was called to the bar in 1997, refused to deal with prosecution, the committee was told, while on another occasion Ms Vallejo struck an “unhelpful tone.” ‘ applied when she responded to the judge by saying, ‘I cannot force my client to make a statement of defence. What part of it doesn’t your honor understand?”

Ms. Vallejo would also undermine the judge by calling her the “learned judge” – instead of “Your Honor” – and making a joke that the judge acted like an attorney, since the attorney often calls another “learned friend” heard the panel.

The panel heard that when the judge on another occasion asked for clarification on a witness’ testimony, Ms. Vallejo replied before the jury, “Well, if Your Honor wants to cross-examine, I will sit down.”

Also, when the judge told her to sit, she chided that it was the “fifth time Your Honor has asked me to sit,” and then told the judge that she didn’t need to be asked to accept put.

Ms Vallejo will have to pay the £2,000 next year after the panel concluded: “[She] has failed in her duty to the court in the administration of justice by being impolite and unprofessional.”

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